By INS Contributors

KUALA LUMPUR (May 5)--After a poor showing with its media campaign against China, the declining U.S. hegemon has now taken aim at academics, seeking to offer money in exchange for propaganda material to fuel the fires of hatred against China.

Offering "one-time grants" between 2,000 and 8,000 U.S. dollars for "research" that will expose alleged corruption by China and Russia, the CRDF Global, an organization that openly touts its links with Ukrainian fascists, Islamic extremists and various anti-Chinese elements is seeking academics, specifically those in Southeast Asia.

And the objective is far from promoting honest academic discourse but rather to fund “research” explicitly against China and Russia with the aim of building a website that will ultimately be used as the basis to create and perpetuate more propaganda.

“Grantees will be expected to publish a research paper of approximately 7,500 words, present their research at a remote conference in the winter of 2021, and assist in the development of research-based content for an interactive website,” it says on its website.

Most tellingly it seeks to fund “research” on “corruption” as conducted by China and Russia, allegedly in the furtherance of arms contracts and other nefarious activities, putting advanced conventional weapons in the hands of non-U.S. friendly states in the region.

CRDF Global seeks applications for grants to fund new research that examines and proposes policy-oriented solutions to risks and challenges associated with ACW proliferation in Southeast Asia. Possible topics include:  

>Preventing gray-zone conflicts, proxy wars, and privatization in the East Asia Pacific region.

> Defending against the theft, forced transfer, or predatory acquisition of critical technology or companies by entities connected to the Chinese military.

>Approaches to guard against the development of dual-use infrastructure designed to support and project Chinese military power.  

>Identifying Russian and Chinese corruption methods in defense procurement.  

>Regional approaches to coalition building to counter Chinese military expansion into contested spaces.  

>The role of state-based disinformation in conflict escalation.

Not content with using its vast and sophisticated media propaganda machine to sew out lies on China in particular, the U.S is seeking to “legitimize” its claims by funding such research. While no respectable academic will fall for these tactics, a large number of desperate, ignorant , ill-informed and even malicious individuals would likely participate.

Perhaps they are even looking for the next Adrian Zenz, a well-known disinformation agent who first cooked the claims on the mistreatment of Uyghurs in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Reckoning of justice awaits slanderer Adrian Zenz

Even more telling is the fact that the U.S. address displayed can be looked up through a simple Google map search. Does it show a university or educational institute of any kind? Of course not. The address is to a shopping mall in Washington. How convenient.

Such propaganda sourcing and disinformation campaigns are certainly not without impact. A lie repeated often enough becomes the truth. Countries in the region have seen sporadic protests and even “soft” regime change as was the case in Malaysia where a concerted disinformation campaign resulted in a long time government being toppled in elections after voter sentiment was heavily influenced by such campaigns.

Leaked emails, George Soros and rigged election claims: Malaysia gives U.S. a run for its money

“...a tranche of hacked emails claimed that Bersih had received money from a foreign foundation helmed by controversial billionaire-philanthropist George Soros.
Local news reports claimed Soros’s Open Society Foundations (OSF) was also attempting to influence the country’s next election in 2018 through programmes such as voter mobilisation drives.

Bersih chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah said the group received only a one-time grant of 70,000 Malaysian ringgit (HK$130,000) from Soros’ Open Society Institute (OSI) between 2010 and 2011.”

Color revolutions are the hallmarks of such U.S campaigns, which have carried on into the protests in Hong Kong and beyond. Not to mention the constant attacks against China over purported human rights violations in Xinjiang.

Governments in the region must be wary of having their academics being used for such purposes and indeed if they tolerate and turn a blind eye to such activities in their own borders, they will find themselves under assault in due course.